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Major Decisions: Graduates’ Earnings Growth and Debt Repayment

November 20, 2014 Comments off

Major Decisions: Graduates’ Earnings Growth and Debt Repayment
Source: Brookings Institution

Student debt is becoming the norm for young adults in America. Aggregate student loan debt has more than tripled over the past decade, as both the number of borrowers and the size of the average balance have increased. Today, roughly 70 percent of American bachelor’s graduates leave school with debt. For these borrowers, the typical balance is $26,500—half owe more than this amount and half owe less.

The high incidence of student debt says nothing about whether taking out student loans to pay for college is a good idea. In a previous economic analysis Major Decisions: What Graduates Earn Over Their Lifetimes, The Hamilton Project examined earnings for approximately 80 majors and found that, throughout the entire career, median earnings for every major are higher than those for high school graduates. Differences in earnings reflect both the return to skills acquired in pursuit of a degree and the underlying capability and work ethic of individuals who pursue college education. However, experts agree that for most students, college will pay off by large margins over a lifetime.

But how easily students can repay the loans used to pay for college is another matter. While career earnings tend to grow rapidly for almost every major, student loans are typically repaid in the first decade of the career when earnings are at their lowest. Such a repayment strategy places a particularly heavy burden on graduates whose earnings start low before rising later in their careers. For these students, college likely still pays off in the end, but it may not provide the cash flow needed to easily pay off loans in the years immediately following graduation.

In this second economic analysis in the Major Decisions series, The Hamilton Project turns to the question of loan repayment. The analysis explores the relationship between earnings growth over one’s career and the relative burden of debt repayment across 80 majors. Specifically, we examine the share of monthly earnings needed to make monthly loan repayments for each major under the traditional 10-year repayment plan. Accompanying the analysis is a new interactive feature that combines a debt repayment calculator with major-specific earnings trajectories, allowing the user to see what share of earnings will go to debt repayment for each year of the repayment period.

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CRS — Staff Pay Levels for Selected Positions in Senators’ Offices, FY2009-FY2013 (November 3, 2014)

November 13, 2014 Comments off

Staff Pay Levels for Selected Positions in Senators’ Offices, FY2009-FY2013
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report provides pay data for 16 staff position titles that are typically deployed in Senators’ offices. The positions include the following: Administrative Director; Casework Supervisor; Caseworker; Chief of Staff; Communications Director; Counsel; Executive Assistant; Field Representative; Legislative Assistant; Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Director; Press Secretary; Scheduler; “Specials Director,” a combined category that includes the job titles Director of Projects, Director of Special Projects, Director of Federal Projects, Director of Grants, Projects Director, or Grants Director; Staff Assistant; and State Director. Senators’ staff pay data for the years FY2009-FY2013 were derived from a random sampling of Senators’ offices in which at least one staff member worked in a position in each year.

See also: Staff Pay Levels for Selected Positions in House Member Offices, 2009-2013 (November 3, 2014) (PDF)

Labor Market Returns to Sub-Baccalaureate Credentials: How Much Does a Community College Degree or Certificate Pay?

November 11, 2014 Comments off

Labor Market Returns to Sub-Baccalaureate Credentials: How Much Does a Community College Degree or Certificate Pay?
Source: Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis

This study provides one of the first estimates of the returns to different types of community college credentials—short-term certificates, long-term certificates, and associate degrees—across different fields of study. We exploit a rich data set that includes matched, longitudinal college transcripts and Unemployment Insurance records for students who entered a Washington State community college in 2001–2002. Our findings based on an individual fixed effect model suggest that earning an associate degree or a long-term certificate is associated with increased wages, particularly for women. We find that there is greater variation in returns to wages by the field of study than by degree type.

Does education loan debt influence household financial distress? An assessment using the 2007-09 SCF Panel

November 11, 2014 Comments off

Does education loan debt influence household financial distress? An assessment using the 2007-09 SCF Panel (PDF)
Source: Federal Reserve Board

This paper uses the recent 2007-09 SCF panel to examine the influence of student loans on financial distress. Families with student loans in 2007 have higher levels of financial distress than families without such loans, and these families were more susceptible to transitions to financial distress during the early stages of the Great Recession. This correlation persists once we control for a host of other demographic, work-status, and household balance sheet measures. Families with an average level of student loans were 3.1 percentage points more likely to be 60 days late paying bills and 3 percentage points more likely to be denied credit. During this same time period, families with other types of consumer debt were no more or less likely to be financially distressed.

Education loans enable students to go to college and improve their employment and earnings prospects. On average, families with education loans in the 2007-09 SCF saw higher income growth between surveys. Further, the value of completing a degree is evident in the data: families without a degree but with education debt drive much of the correlations between financial distress and education loans.

UK — Civil Service Statistics, 2014

November 10, 2014 Comments off

Civil Service Statistics, 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

Key points

  • Civil Service employment on 31 March 2014 was 439,942, down 8,893 (2.0%) on 31 March 2013. On a full-time equivalent basis, Civil Service employment was 405,784, down by 8,139 (2.0%) over the same period.
  • The number of full-time civil servants fell by 7,353 to 332,692 between March 2013 and March 2014. The number of civil servants working part-time fell by 1,540 to 107,250.
  • Of those employees who declared their ethnicity, 10.1% were from an ethnic minority.
  • Of those who declared their disability status, 8.8% were disabled.
  • More than half (54.9%) of all employees leaving the Civil Service were from the Administrative responsibility level.
  • More than 80% of civil servants were aged 30-59. The number of civil servants aged 60 or above was 35,781, an increase of 1,174 from 31 March 2013. The number of civil servants aged 65 and over increased by 682 from 31 March 2013.
  • Median gross annual earnings (excluding overtime or one-off bonuses) for Civil Service employees was £24,730 as of 31 March 2014, an increase of £350 (1.5%) from 31 March 2013.

Fathers, Children, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Employers

November 5, 2014 Comments off

Fathers, Children, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Employers (PDF)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

We document the tendency of fathers in the U.S. to share employers with their sons and daughters. We show that the incidence of sharing employers is much higher than can be explained by the fact that fathers and sons tend to live near each other. Workers early in their careers are much more likely to share their father’s employer, as are children of high-earning fathers. We find that children’s earnings at shared employers tend to be higher than at unshared jobs, especially for children of high-earning fathers. These facts indicate that employer sharing between fathers and children could explain some component of the intergenerational elasticity of earnings in the United States.

CRS — Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2014 (October 27, 2014)

November 4, 2014 Comments off

Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2014 (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The U.S. Constitution, in Article I, Section 6, authorizes compensation for Members of Congress “ascertained by law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.” Throughout American history, Congress has relied on three different methods in adjusting salaries for Members. Specific legislation was last used to provide increases in 1990 and 1991. It was the only method used by Congress for many years.

The second method, under which annual adjustments took effect automatically unless disapproved by Congress, was established in 1975.

A third method for adjusting Member pay is congressional action pursuant to recommendations from the President, based on the recommendations of the Citizens’ Commission on Public Service and Compensation established in the 1989 Ethics Reform Act. Although the Citizens’ Commission should have convened in 1993, it did not and has not met since then.

See also: Salaries of Members of Congress: Recent Actions and Historical Tables (October 27, 2014)

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